Monday, February 21, 2011

Taste Only Sacredness





Something opens our wings.
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us:
We taste only sacredness.

~ Rumi


When I first chose this quote to accompany my image I thought it was the idea of filling one's self up with sacredness that appealed to me.  Now that I am constructing the draft for this post, I realize it is probably the phrase "Something makes ... hurt disappear" that grabbed my attention.

Back in January when given the go-ahead to lift weights and do a bit of exercise with my then mended broken bones in my left arm, I was a little too enthusiastic.  Using a powerful stretch-band contraption that hooks around your feet and has two other extensions for your hands, I stretched and pulled and felt very proud of myself.  While I felt no pain at the time, it seems I tore a ligament or something in my upper arm for I have had continuous pain radiating from my shoulder down to my wrist since. 

It has been about a month now and last week while finding myself feeling rather discouraged, I decided to follow some of my own advice and try changing my relationship to the pain.  Rather than resenting it, cursing it, wishing for it to disappear, I decided to see if I could allow it, try to understand it, respect it.  Well, I am doing it - not consistently - sometimes I forget and slip back into frustration, annoyance and self-pity.  I console myself that at least I have 'awakened' and brought into awareness that I do have a choice in how I relate to the pain.  I wonder if I can take it a step further, follow Rumi's advice and view this cup of pain as sacred?  (Right now - not so much! :-)

So there I am wanting to relate in a new way to pain, and still choosing a poem that speaks of  'making hurt disappear'.  It is always a challenge to stay conscious and to not regress into child-like wishful thinking when in circumstances that would not normally be of one's choosing.

My postings have been sparse and rather wimpy of late, due in part to some difficulty concentrating with pain on and in my shoulder radiating down into my wrist.   Please bear with me (or is it bare with me - I always get those two mixed up!), I hope to be able to bring my full attention and awareness to my posts soon.

There is still a free texture available for you to download in yesterday's post (Feb. 20th).

24 comments:

  1. I suppose pain is more the physical sensation, and hurt is the attitude which surrounds it. It sounds like you're working on that last part. I hope the first part eases up for you soon. Lovely photo.

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  2. First of all, I wish you peace and freedom from pain!

    I love how you have changed your relationship to the pain - that you are willing to be open to it and see where it will take you. That is not easy to do with many challenges, but pain would be especially difficult, I imagine.

    You are inspiring me to look at my challenges with a new eye - if you can change your relationship to pain, I can change how I see the challenges that are appearing in my word!

    Be well and take care of yourself!

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  3. Hilary: Good to make that distinction in meaning which teases apart some of the different aspects of healing. Thank you.

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  4. Marion: Thank you. Yes, changing our relationship to challenges is powerful - sometimes life-altering!

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  5. Sending healing thoughts to you Bonnie. Your relationship with this pain is so brave and wise. I'm sure that it will heal soon and leave you stronger. Your words and photo go together beautiful. Be well.

    Julie
    Julie Magers Soulen Photography

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  6. HI BONNIE-

    I appreciate this post so much. I 'manage' pain from the MS every day - some days are way worse than others. I try to 'go with it' - and most days I surrender and realize that I can be in pain sitting home or being out and about. I am actually in less pain or less aware when I am out and about. I so understand the challenge Bonnie - sending good thoughts, sacred thoughts, to you.
    Love Gail
    peace.....

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  7. Julie: Thanks so much - I always appreciate your sweet take on things.

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  8. Gail: You must have so much you could teach us all about pain management and being with what is ... I keep reminding myself that this is just a little blip on the screen and it will pass.

    I can only bow in amazement to folks like yourself who deal with a chronic, unrelenting illness on a daily basis. All the kind wishes you send in your comment, I send, as well, to you.

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  9. I am so unused to consistent physical pain (mental perhaps a different matter!) that I would be a thousand times wimpier than you, Bonnie! You seem to be dealing with it in the best way possible. I always find things take much longer to heal than you think - and than all the medics optimistically predict.

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  10. Seems to me you're being (or at least aware of how to be) skillful in dealing with chronic pain. Your post did bring to mind Jon Kabat Zinn's book Full Catastrophe Living which explores methods of using mindfulness to deal with intractable pain. From what you've written here, it seems you may have read it already.

    That said, I find that bare attention to aversive mind states tends to make them more interesting and more manageable. May your arm be good to you.

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  11. HI AGAIN-

    your validation of my challenge means SO much to me. I really appreciate your amazing and kind and loving reply to me.
    Love Gail
    peace.....

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  12. Solitary Walker: You are a fortunate man to have not had to deal with physical pain. That being said, emotional pain does cut much deeper than flesh and bone. Thanks Robert.

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  13. Dan: Thank you. Yes, being mindful minimizes resistance to what is. Resistance magnifies the pain. One can be aware. One can be skillful. This 'one' can do neither perfectly. :-)

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  14. i am sorry you are in so much pain bonnie...managing it can not be easy..hope and healing...

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  15. bonnie - suffering has been a great motivator for me throughout my life. i blame my wesleyan methodist upbringing! rumi's words here remind me to look beyond the surface of my experience and to remember the true purpose for which iw as given this opportunity. blessings bonnie. we're given them every day. steven

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  16. Hi Bonnie,
    Sending warm thoughts for your sore arm. I'm sure that it will improve now that you're paying positive attention to it.

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  17. Well, perhaps you might heal faster if you are not fighting the pain so much. easy for me to say. I hope your healing is swift.

    remember, as my chiropractor used to say, two steps forward and one step back is still progress.

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  18. I had some sort of quirk a while back. It lasted about a month. I think it was because my keyboard was placed way too high - probably a pinched nerve. But it hurt so much! I am all better now. But it does make us appreciate a healthy body. You are wise to take things slowly. Pushing and aggravating the pain does no good.

    Now, if you were Catholic, you would KNOW what to do with pain. "Offer it up for those souls in most need". Never, never let "good" pain go to waste! :)

    Hope you get better very soon. And thank you for the © I found it on my Mac under "edit" - special characters. As easy as that! (I do LOVE my Mac!)

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  19. Brian: Thank you, your wishes mean a lot.

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  20. steven: You have so beautifull integrated the belief that suffering is always an opportunity. I know it - and am getting closer to living it, in part due to your sweet reminders. Thank you.

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  21. Kathryn: Yes, thank you - I had a couple of days where I allowed myself to sink into a bit of negative thinking about it. With all this fabulous, positive encouragement I hope the resistance is behind me.

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  22. Ellen: That's it. Steven Levine always said that we all have pain but it is our resistance to it that turns it into suffering.

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  23. Margaret: Thank you. Now I am so far removed from established religious thinking, that I have to admit I do not 'get' how offering up my pain for souls most in need could possibly do them any good ... ?? You will have to enlighten me. Perhaps the pain is affecting my brain!

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  24. It's funny how you forget all about your pain as soon as it goes away, but boy when you're in it, you don't forget it! I sure hope your pain eases fast. It's not fun dealing with pulled muscles and such. Take care.

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